Bok winger (playing at center for the Shark this past weekend), JP Pieterson has been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season through injury. The World Cup winner has had to undergo groin surgery, creating a massive dilemma at center for the Durban-based franchise.
The Sharks have lost Tim Whitehead and Paul Jordaan to long-term injuries and, with the possibility of Meyer Bosman being unavailable after braking his nose against the Force, the Sharks could find themselves having to pick players who are yet to play a Currie Cup match.
Even veteran Marius Joubert, who has been out of favour since returning from Europe, is out because of a broken hand, leaving young wing Piet Lindeque, and the relatively unknown Tyler Fisher and Heimar Williams as the only real no. 13 options.
The only ray of sunshine this weekend is that experienced Internationals Butch James and Bismark du Plessis are likely to return, meaning that if Bosman is fit, he could move to 13 and accommodate James at 12. Du Plessis should start from the bench, a great boost to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, as the South African hookers have largely failed to blow anyone away with their performances this year.
The Sharks have had a dismal season so far and this has largely been due to a horrific run of injuries, and the players and coaches will welcome the news of the impending decision to have a global season, as well as a massive increase in the amount of off-season they enjoy.